Four Questions To Ask For A Successful Logo Design Project
Relationships are all about communication.
Communication helps to set expectations, and clear expectations make sure everyone is working towards a common goal. This applies to marriages, friendships, international spy contracts (I'm assuming), and designer/client relationships.
So before you electronically sign on the dotted line and money exchanges PayPal accounts, ask yourself and your designer a few questions to make sure you're getting everything you expect. These questions are geared towards logo design, but they can be broadly applied to most other projects as well.
1. Did your designer try to understand your needs?
Did he or she ask you questions about your brand? Its vision, mission, values, target audience? Did they scope out your competition? Do they know your unique selling point? Do they know where you'll be using your logo?
A logo is meant to identify your brand and convey a message. While it's your job to make sure you give your designer the right information to convey that message well, it's their job to make sure they ask the right questions.
Asking the right questions and actually listening to the answers also shows that a designer is invested in you, your business, and your success. This leads to warm fuzzy feelings all the way around.
2. What files will you be getting at the end of the project?
The only reason this isn't question numero uno is because if your logo doesn't convey your brand's message it won't matter what format it's in.
I can't tell you how many times I've had a client send me their existing logo for a project only for me to have to tell them I can't work with it, or that it will cost additional money to recreate in a higher quality format.
Your final logo files from a professional designer should work in any project you may have. Print, web, on dark backgrounds, on light backgrounds, large, small, in a box with a fox.
You should receive at least two formats, minimum. One of these should be a .PNG with a transparent background. This basically means you can place this file over the top of any color without that awkward white block around it. You should also get a source file (.SVG, .EPS, .PSD, .AI, etc). These are files straight from the design program, which can be sent to another designer in the future for use in another project.
Most professional designers will also send your logo in two resolutions. The resolution is the number of pixels in an image and dictates how sharp and clear the image appears. Print and web have very different requirements for this, meaning a low-resolution logo meant for the web will look like crap when printed on your new marketing brochure.
The technical details here aren't as important as the takeaway: Ask your designer up front what file formats and resolutions you're going to receive, and make sure you'll be able to use them anywhere your heart desires.
3. How many drafts and revisions are included in the price?
There's no rule book for how many revisions a designer must offer. It varies wildly by designer and type of project. Most designers will lay this out clearly in their design proposal, but if they don't, or you don't understand, ask.
For a logo project you'll usually want more than one initial concept. There may be multiple ways to convey the same message, and it's helpful to have choices. On the flip side of that, you can have too much of a good thing. If you're being asked to choose between ten initial concepts it can feel like the designer doesn't know how to properly convey your message and needs your help deciding. Plus that's just too many choices, and ain't nobody got time for that.
You'll want to ask up front how many initial concepts the designer provides, and how many revisions you'll have a chance to make. Most professionals will offer one to three initial concepts and two to three rounds of revisions, which is usually plenty. A skilled, experienced designer will do the work up front to ensure that you end up with a kick ass logo no matter what.
4. Will you own the rights to the final product?
This may seem like a ridiculous question but trust me, it's not. While most professional designers won't have an issue acknowledging that you own the rights to your design, there are those who will. It's worth finding out up front.
Most contracts will state that the designer reserves the right to use the work in their portfolio, but otherwise you should walk away with the rights to use that logo anywhere, anytime, anyhow.
The whole usage issue is far more complex than just three paragraphs, but what it boils down to is a legit professional designer will be happy to answer your questions about usage rights. If they won't, or you feel like the situation is shady, run away.
Working with a professional designer should be exciting and enjoyable, and clear communication from the start will make sure you both come out the other side happy. Don't be afraid to ask questions and always do your research before starting any project.